The San Antonio Spurs dropped a thriller to third-place Memphis Grizzlies as they gave their division opponent a scare but fell a little short, 118-110. Though the good guys erased a 15-point deficit, there were no late-game heroics to help complete what would have been a fantastic comeback.
Devin Vassell paced the Silver and Black with 20 points off the bench, and Dejounte Murray registered his tenth triple-double of the season. Keldon Johnson and Jakob Poeltl added 18 points apeice. Ja Morant was unstoppable, and he led the Grizz with 41 points and eights assists.
- Dejounte Murray has garnered All-Star consideration as a nightly triple-double threat, Ja Morant has pushed his name into the MVP discussion, and this was the most highly anticipated point guard matchup in the NBA on Wednesday night. Murray logged his tenth triple-double of the season with 16 points, ten rebounds, and 11 assists, but Morant outplayed him in almost every way as he dropped 41 points, five rebounds, and eight assists on the Spurs.
- After losing backup center duties to Drew Eubanks and spending about a week in the doghouse, Jock Landale was the first big off the bench against the Grizzlies. The Spurs tried to get their rookie center involved with some pick-and-pop sets during the first half, but he bricked all three of his long-distance attempts. While the towering Australian put forth immense effort on the defensive end of the court, his feet looked like cinderblocks when he found himself switched onto guards.
- The Silver and Black became the second team in NBA history to attempt six or fewer than six free throws four times in a single season when they blew out the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night, and they surpassed that mark with 4:24 remaining in the second quarter. San Antonio ended the evening with 19 trips to the charity stripe, a hair above their season average (18.4 FTA).
- Head coach Gregg Popovich has talked about how slow starts have been a killer for the Spurs throughout the first half of their schedule, and San Antonio once again fell behind 34-25 by the end of the first quarter. Thankfully, San Antonio outscored the Grizzlies 33-27 in the second frame and entered halftime trailing by a single possession.
- Jakob Poeltl cleanly swatted a Desmond Bane layup into the stands with only a few seconds left in the first half, yet the officials blew their whistle and forced the Spurs into using their coach’s challenge. The foul call was blatantly incorrect, and unsurprisingly, the referees switched their initial ruling and set up a jump ball at midcourt. Unfortunately for San Antonio, the Grizzlies won the tip, and Ja Morant made a beeline to the rim for a floater that put Memphis ahead 61-58.
- Jakob Poeltl has been on a heater since sitting out against the Los Angeles Clippers with back tightness. The sixth-year center has averaged 18.8 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks per game over that stretch, and he continued his phenomenal play as San Antonio hosted the Grizzlies. Despite committing five fouls, Poeltl stuffed the stat sheet with 18 points, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals, and four blocks while going a perfect 8-of-8 from the field.
- Lonnie Walker IV and Derrick White have been in a slump over their last couple of outings, but they got back on track against the Grizzlies. The pair of guards combined for 26 points on 9-of-18 shooting as they helped San Antonio keep pace with Memphis for most of the game. Hopefully, they continue to shake off the rust as the Spurs start prepping for their annual Rodeo Road Trip.
- Devin Vassell was outstanding for the Silver and Black as he scored 20 points off the bench. The second-year swingman aggressively looked for his shot for most of the contest, and he led a San Antonio second unit that outscored the Memphis reserves 38-20. The former Florida State Seminole looks more and more comfortable with each passing game, and he continues to show why PATFO chose him with the 11th overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft.
For the Grizzlies fans’ perspective, please visit Grizzly Bear Blues.
The San Antonio Spurs return to action on Friday as they welcome back DeMar DeRozan and host the Chicago Bulls for the first time this season.